[Source: 52 Super Series] At the Gaastra 52 World Championships off Miami Beach, Florida it is official practice race day for the eight boat fleet. There have been two ad-hoc days of practice so far with most of the class lining up yesterday for informal racing.
For the first time the World Championships also count for series points for the 52 SUPER SERIES and so two boats line up against the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet for the first time, one American and one European.
The US boat Vesper is owned and steered by Jim Swartz who has run the programme for two years since he bought the former MedCup winning Botin Partners designed Quantum Racing. They have an active campaign in the USA and so arrive at these world championships with a solid team and a well tuned and run boat. Tactician Gavin Brady explains:
“ We have had a couple of days of training and so with the practice race today we should be OK. We have seen a range of conditions here, really tricky because the conditions are so shifty, probably as shifty as I’ve seen here. So it is shaping up to be a very interesting week.”
The European teams, like 52 SUPER SERIES champions Azzurra and Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing represent the top level and the Vesper team are looking forwards to measuring up on the race course:
“ For Vesper it is new for us to line up against the European teams, we have not lined up against them so far. They are the top of the game right now.” Confirms Brady, “ We are getting better every day, learning to sail against them – the speeds and modes of the boats. That is really good for us, to be able to step up our game for the rest of the season here in the USA. It is a unique opportunity for us. Sometimes it is a bit humbling but sometimes the newer boats show a lot of speed. But I think we can hang in there. We have had two years sailing Vesper and we feel comfortable sailing Vesper and so hopefully that will keep us in the game.”
Most of the crews know Miami well but it is expected to be a week of differing conditions:
“ Most of the teams know this venue quite well, having sailed a whole variety of different types of boat here. There will be a lot of options for the crews tactically. It a bit of a challenge sometimes as there is not a lot of water under them some of the time, these boats are quite deep. We have been close to the bottom!”
“I think our realistic target is to sail as well as we can and see how we feel in a range of conditions. So far we have only see flat water and quite a lot of wind. Of course in the regatta we are anticipating the wind to be from the opposite direction with quite big waves. Right now if we sail well we can win races with this boat. We just have to see, when the conditions change – around about Wednesday – in the big waves we will have to see how Vesper goes in that.”
Over the past two seasons Vesper have built a strong, regular crew and Brady believes that will be one of their major assets this week:
“ We have had the same crew for two years on Vesper and you can’t beat that. It is a big investment for Jim Swartz to keep the team together for two years but you get here to a world championship like this and it allows you to play the game.”